Ravens face defensive depth issues with injuries to Lewis-Moore, Jackson

August 10, 2014 | Ryan Chell

Owings Mills-Going into the 2014 season, the Ravens expected to have a lot of depth and options of several young players to choose in their defensive line and corner back rotations, but after several weeks of practice-and on two plays on Sunday-that sense of security may have gone the wayside.

Sunday marked the second day of practice for the Baltimore Ravens in their joint-session with the San Francisco 49ers, and while it was a quiet day at the Under Armour Performance Center on Saturday, two young Baltimore Ravens went down with lower leg injuries, including second-year defensive lineman Kapron Lewis-Moore with an severe Achilles injury as well as cornerback Asa Jackson, who left with an ankle injury.

Head coach John Harbaugh said after practice that Jackson is considered day-to-day, while it is believed that Lewis-Moore is lost for the season.

“Kapron Lewis-Moore had a more major injury,” Harbaugh said. “He’ll probably be out, so we’ll see. That’s disappointing for a guy that had the ACL last year. It’s going to be tough for him, and we’ll rally around him, and he’ll be back stronger than ever next year.”

Moore was working in 11-on-11 drills, and became trapped under a pile with both Ravens and 49ers. As the play ended,  a scream carried across the practice field. The 49ers offensive players and Ravens defenders all present dropped to a knee and huddled around Lewis-Moore, who was carted off the field minutes later sobbing loudly.

The players only practiced for ten minutes more, but there was a solemn tone on both teams as they completed their drills and workouts.

Ravens CB Jimmy Smith, who saw the injury from the sidelines, knew it was serious the moment he saw it.

“The way he went down, you knew. You never hear a man scream that way. You knew something was wrong.”

Terrell Suggs, who met with the media after practice and is usually jovial, had a solemn tone speaking into the microphone addressing Lewis-Moore right off the bat.

“It’s very unfortunate and it’s very disappointing because he was having such a phenomenal camp,” Suggs said. “He just came off his knee injury. To see him work all the way back and get injured in camp, it’s unfortunate. It’s a horrible feeling.”

Lewis-Moore, who was drafted in the 6th round by the Baltimore Ravens out of Notre Dame in 2013, missed all the 2013 season with a right ACL tear suffered in the 2013 BCS Title Game against Alabama.

He also only played seven games in his 2011 campaign due to a knee injury.

Suggs said he’ll be one of the first ones though to welcome him back when he returns healthy and ready to go.

“We’re going to wish him a speedy recovery, and we’re going to get right back at it.”

Meanwhile, Jackson, who had two tackles and an interception in the Ravens 23-3 victory over the 49ers on Thursday, couldn’t put any weight on his ankle as he had to be helped off by Ravens team doctor Leigh Ann Curl.

It’s unfortunate timing for Jackson and this Ravens defense, as this team is looking thin at the position since Lardarius Webb went down with a back injury in the first few days of camp.

It was Jackson himself who saw himself in the middle of the depth chart only to rise up the ranks with few cornerbacks playing well or staying healthy, as he told Nestor Aparicio on Friday here on WNST.

“Through this opportunity, we’ll raise ourselves as a unit,” Jackson told Aparicio. “I thank God for the opportunity to still be here…I’m just wanting to take advantage of it.”

The former 5th-rd pick out of Cal-Poly has received a lot of playing time at both the nickel and right cornerback spots in camp, and also received time in Thursday’s preseason opener on special teams as kick returner and punt returner for Jerry Rosburg’s squad.

There is a possibility Jackson might be passing the torch though if he joins Webb on the sidelines.

Jimmy Smith, who luckily has not only been healthy but has shut out his competition in camp, weighed in on the thin group behind him,  “It’s really unfortunate we’re losing CBs…it’s just becoming next man up.”

With another cornerback out, Darian Stewart moved up to play the nickel corner with suspended safety Will Hill taking Stewart’s place at FS. Chykie Brown remained on the outside.

Suggs said that having these younger guys in camp

Also missing practice Sunday were OL Ryan Jensen, who turned his leg in Saturday’s session. TE Dennis Pitta was also not practicing due to a “tweak”, Harbaugh said, but came out during practice wearing a jersey with no pads. He appeared to have no limp or any noticeable injury, and gave a thumbs up to reporters when asked if everything was alright.

DLs Terrence Cody (hip) as well as rookie DL Brent Urban (knee) also did not practice.

Offense struggles against 49er defense-After putting up  386 total yards Thursday in their preseason opener and a fairly successful outing on Saturday, the Ravens offense had their struggles against Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, and the 49ers defense on Sunday.

Joe Flacco threw a couple dangerous passes toward an aggressive San Francisco secondary. The headache came when  49ers rookie DB Dontae Johnson jumped a route on WR Jacoby Jones and took the pass back for a pick-six.

Fellow 49ers rookie Jimmie Ward, who was a Ravens draft target this off-season, also made an impressive play on wide receiver Steve Smith, causing the ball to drop to the turf. Smith got up the play and welcomed the contact from the NFL newcomer.

And in individual pass-blocking drills, very few of the Ravens backs or tight ends could handle the bull-rushes from the 49ers defensive line.

However, 4th-rd pick Lorenzo Taliaferro, who Ravens Pro Personnel Director Eric DeCosta held in high regard for this ability to block in the backfield, held his own in several drills.

In work against the Ravens second team defense, FB Bruce Miller scored on a wheel-route in the back of the end zone against Ravens LB Arthur Brown and Vernon Davis made an impressive leaping catch in the back of the end zone from Josh Johnson.

The Ravens return to the practice field Monday once again facing the San Francisco 49ers.